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REVIEW:  The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent’s Curse by Tony Abbott

REVIEW: The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent’s Curse by Tony Abbott

The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent's Curse by Tony Abbott

The Copernicus Legacy is a quest to find the ancient Copernicus artifacts. Four kids named Darrel, Wade, Lily, and Becca are the ones trying to find the artifacts and obviously with a little help they will find them all. There are always some challenges and one of them is Galina Krause and her army of Teutonic knights. It’s a race for the artifacts!

I have read only the second book but found it easy to understand but I would recommend reading the first in the series. The first book must have contained more information about how their enemies were made. The beginning explained a lot about what had happened in the first book.

There are four main characters: Darrel, Wade, Lily and Becca. Darrel is Wade’s stepbrother and he more concerned about finding his mom than anything else. Wade has the same goal as his brother but he is also very focused on finding the artifacts. Lily likes to be in charge but not in  a way that would make their group fall apart. Lily and Becca are best friends. Becca is mostly worried that their nemesis–Galina Krause–will hurt her sister.

Lily is Wade’s cousin. One of their ancestors is Copernicus. He owed a number of artifacts and if they all were put together something unexplainable would happen–such as giving the owner a lot of power. It is not revealed in the book. Galina made them search out the artifacts because she wants them and they are trying to protect the artifacts to prevent Galina from taking control.

I did not like the fact though that there were some languages that I did not understand and that they somehow were not able to add in a translation. Some of the sentences in the book were very hard to understand you’d have to read it over and over again to make sure that you could understand but otherwise its great.

Now its time for the best parts, I thought that it was so funny when Wade always wanted to know what Becca’s opinion was even in times when it did not matter also during dangerous tasks. For example Terence-a helper, Wade, and Lily rolled down a hill and got onto a moving truck, Terence said. “Everyone thinks were crazy and that we should not be doing this.” Then Wade suddenly said, “What does Becca think?” Lily looks at him and says, “Seriously, Wade now!”

I enjoyed all the action and adventure in this book its just what grabbed me and pulled me in to reading it but what they talk about sometimes is really sad. It took place in Italy, New York, and Russia. I would rate this book a B+. Over all it was one of the best books ever. It pulled me in, and made me want to keep reading until I could stop.

Tot (Not a Tot anymore though)

(Posted by Jane)

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REVIEW:  Backwoods by Jill Sorenson

REVIEW: Backwoods by Jill Sorenson

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Dear Ms. Sorenson,

Several of your books can be characterized as adventure/survival-driven romantic suspense, with outdoor California settings playing a large role in the narrative. I think this has been a good direction for you, but while I enjoyed parts of Backwoods, I don’t feel it’s one of your better books.

Heroine Abby and her daughter Brooke are headed for a wilderness retreat with Abby’s ex-husband Ray, his current wife Lydia, and Lydia’s son Leo. Instead of Ray and Lydia, it’s Leo’s father, Nathan, who joins them, and the four head out for a multiday trek. Abby and Nathan are attracted to each other, as are Brooke and Leo, but the family dynamics and history make it difficult for any of them to act on the attraction. In addition, there are strange things going on in the woods – a young couple disappeared some time ago and the man was later found dead of an arrow shot, a pair of hunters turn up and their intentions do not appear to be friendly, and at one point a woman’s screams can be heard in the distance, but further investigation reveals only a newly killed deer. As they continue farther away from civilization, things become more dangerous, but it’s too late to turn back.

As in some of your previous novels, the setting really contributes to the atmosphere and the story. Another thing I’ve enjoyed in your books is that you write characters that don’t fall into the usual age range for contemporaries; here, the main couple are in their mid to late thirties and the secondary characters are teenaged college students who act their age. I actually felt that Abby and Nathan could have been written even a bit older, and Abby’s first marriage being at such a young age seemed out of character for both her and her ex-husband.

Abby is the sort of character who at first glance seems quite conventional, but in fact there’s a lot about her that is unusual for the genre: she was a teen parent, but is very well-adjusted and a wonderful mother to Brooke. She got breast implants after her divorce and is happy with her decision – not something I’ve come across much when it comes to romance heroines. She’s had some casual relationships in the last few years, rather than moping about her cheating husband and broken marriage; and she’s not particularly interested in having more kids, or in any form of hiking that does not end with a shower and a bed (I can certainly identify with the latter). In other words: Abby reads like a real person and not a romance ideal.

Nathan is a former major league baseball player whose career ended due to injuries and alcohol abuse. There were some errors with the baseball details, but this isn’t a sports romance so I wasn’t too bothered by it. Nathan’s been clean, sober, and celibate for a while (not wanting any more drunken hookups) but the damage done to his relationship with Leo during his years as a ballplayer and alcoholic is considerable, and he has no idea how to fix it or communicate with his son. For him, Abby is a role model as a parent, and he’s open to advice and criticism. I’ll admit that the development of his relationship with Leo interested me more than his relationship with Abby for much of the book.

I thought I would be uncomfortable with Leo and Brooke’s relationship because they are step-siblings, but they already in their teens when their parents married so I was willing to go along with it. Brooke could have been boringly perfect – she’s pretty, smart and talented – but she can also be immature, has a hard time reading other people’s signals, and has doubts about herself and her relationships. Leo, meanwhile, has a difficult relationship with his father and feels aimless and lacking in direction, especially compared to the driven and successful Brooke. Their future is not neatly wrapped up at the end, and considering their age, issues and personalities, I think that’s for the best.

The characters mostly worked for me, but the story didn’t quite hold up. It read to me like several separate stories that were slapped together: there’s the rather creepy initial experiences that Abby, Brooke, Nathan and Leo go through while in the woods; then, as they become less concerned, there’s much mental lusting and Brooke tries to do some matchmaking for Abby and Nathan, which mostly reminded me of an updated version of The Parent Trap; then, the action part, which was much shorter than I expected and kind of fizzled – but it did feature Abby putting her obsession with survival stories to good use, so that was a plus. Finally, there is a fairly long wrapup in which various relationships are sorted out (or not). It didn’t feel like a coherent story and the pacing and structure didn’t really work for me. I’d characterize Backwoods as more of a contemporary with a suspense interlude, and the romance and suspense were not as well-integrated as I would have liked.

I also had some difficulty with the writing style, specifically the short sentences that you use quite a lot. I don’t have a problem with a more spare writing style, but at times it just seemed too staccato and felt distancing – as though everything was kept rather brief and at a shallow level, and it didn’t always feel like each character had a distinctive voice.

Overall, Backwoods mostly worked for me as an adventure story and I appreciate that you continue to write characters that diverge from genre conventions in obvious and more subtle ways. But the plotting was simply too uneven to justify a higher grade. C+/B-.

Best regards,
Rose

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